ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — As Americans flip the calendar to 2021, there is hope for a new year. But some of the problems of 2020 persist, including the battle against COVID-19.

More than 280,000 Marylanders have tested positive for the virus and 5,774 have died. On Friday morning, the state’s health department reported 3,557 new cases in the past 24 hours, the second-highest daily case total.

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As vaccines against the deadly virus continue to be administered, Gov. Larry Hogan shared a New Year’s Day message of hope but also a warning for the days to come.

In the roughly two-minute video, Hogan expressed gratitude that the state made it to 2021 and praised healthcare workers and other essential workers who helped the state through 2020.

“We are all grateful to have 2020 behind us, and we are all ready to turn the page and welcome the promise of better days ahead in 2021,” he said.

Less than one percent of the state’s roughly six million residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19, but the governor said he’s hopeful the process will be expedited this year.

“More vaccines are on the way, and in 2021,  we will prioritize getting vaccines to all Marylanders who want one,” he said.

READ MORE: Gov. Larry Hogan Explains How He Handled Stress Of Leading State Through COVID-19 Pandemic, Frustration Behind ‘Damn Mask’ Moment

Hogan also acknowledged businesses that have been hit hard, first responders, healthcare providers and other essential workers who kept the economy going in a year unlike any other.

“In the most difficult of circumstances, all of you have shown what it means to be Maryland Strong,” he said. “It is because of each and every
one of you that we can now see a glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel.”

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett